Halloween 2023: The Haunted House Monster Statues
Written by Jonathan WojcikYeah, it's still Halloween all right! It's been over a couple of weeks since my October 31st update, as we finished up our family visit, flew back to Oregon by November 10th, and spent another several days getting a whole lot of other things in order, not the least of which was seeing a compilation of my spouse's animated series at the Oregon Short Film Festival!
Now that I'm past the lag, there's still a lot for me to do. I'm mostly working in the background on my bigger projects, but I still have material for more articles, a few videos and other little treats, and I may even bring back Monster Movie Reviews for another round in December. Maybe not every single day, but certainly more than zero.
In the meantime, we can ease back into the Halloween mood with a short and sweet post about just one thing I was lucky to come across:
It was our tumblr friend Abbinurmel who first showed me these beautiful, monstrous miniature haunted houses, apparently sold only at CVS Pharmacies for 2023! Here in Oregon, I'm nowhere near any standalone CVS locations that sell seasonal trinkets, but I happened to spend the final two weeks of October in Florida, and while I generally expect anything cool and desirable (to me) to have long sold out that far into the season, I decided to check the nearest CVS anyway, just in case...
...And they sure do look nice in my mom's tropical backyard, don't they? They eventually came back with us on the plane and now they have to live in the Pacific Northwest until further notice, but maybe they'll feel more at home here surrounded by fog, mushrooms and snails than they would surrounded by sunshine, palm trees and fire ants? They still get to see just as many mosquitoes, in any case!
The first of the two we'll take a closer look at is the Bone House. We can probably count this as yet another Skeleton for something that shouldn't have a Skeleton, since it's not that this house is merely "built" from bone. It is formed of bone tissue, with windows like a set of eyes and a skeletal nose, while its doorway is an open set of jaws with blocky teeth. I appreciate the two upper-level windows being circular in order to look more like eyes, and the human skulls piled around the front stairs for good measure. If this represents an actual full sized house, then those are MASSIVE skulls, but if this item is to be interpreted as life-size, then those are more little tiny fairy skulls.
The only things that aren't bone in this architecture are its concrete foundation, dark brown roofing tiles and and the grey, gothic railings around its peak, which nicely complement the pale whitish bone. The couple of orange Jack O' Lanterns at its base, accompanying the either huge or miniscule skulls, are also a nice splash of more vivid color.
The most notable thing about the Bone House, to me anyway, is that the flat upper roof also provides perfect display space for tiny enough figurines. I had to wait until I came home to be able to experiment with this feature, but as you can see, Gregory Horror Show miniatures fit flawlessly, and then to make it even scarier I added two different Tangelas.
So next, we have the "monster" style house, like a house-sized Dungeons and Dragons Mimic. It's a lovely little home whose scaly brown roof tiles are broken up by pale blue-grey siding, its front porch is full of sharper fangs than its bony sibling, and it has a total of six pale green, reptilian eyeballs with leathery black eyelids, with the largest eye right in the center.
Monster House has no convenient horizontal surfaces for anything to comfortably stand on, but on a whim, I shoved Pumpking, the King of Ghosts into its mouth and his highness's tentacles hold him there quite snugly, so there he shall remain. You may also notice that he's backlit by a charmingly hellish glow, because oh yeah, these things light up!
It's the kind of LED light that cycles through various colors, which is frustrating here, because every possible color looks cool in its own unique and special way, but they cycle too fast to really stop and appreciate, and then they go through an even faster cycle that can give me a bit of a headache from the strobe-like effect. The light shines nicely out of the mouth and windows, though, enough to even project the shape of that toothy mouth on any neighboring surface! It might have been even better if the light could come out through the eyeballs, but at least it shines a little through the thin "flesh" at the corners of the largest eye.
It's the bone house that truly shines here, both figuratively and literally. It seems that the resin these are made from is just translucent enough for light to penetrate, but not through the darker paint colors. The white surfaces of bony mean that the house's entire face lights up, and looks amazing! I still just wish I could easily pick one of the colors and stick with it. Personally I'm a big fan of blue.
On a final note, as charming as both of these are, you can't rightfully call them "creative," because at least one of them is a case of flat-out plagiarism!
Artist Christine McConnell converted her parents old house into a Halloween monstrosity back in 2015, and the design was directly lifted for one of these little resin decorations eight years later. If the bone house was also cribbed from somewhere, I haven't found the original source yet, but either way, this doesn't generally happen out of malice; products like these are made in China by manufacturers with a rushed, overworked staff who have nothing to lose if they just lift whatever designs they find on google, and you can't rightfully blame them.
I so don't blame them, in fact, that it's kind of a little daydream of mine to ever find one of my own designs impersonally staring back at me from a grocery store shelf like this. It specifically has to be by one of these overseas companies who has no idea who I am, though. If it's you, just reading this, and you happen to be someone in the knick knack business, then I'm gonna want to know and strike up some kind of little business deal, just saying!
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